A Boardwalk to Mars - The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed - John Vaillant

The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed - John Vaillant (2006)

Chapter 3. A Boardwalk to Mars

Next year we will practise havoc

in that green trench—

the saws will yammer their nagging dirge,

the donkeys will gather the corpses,

the land will be hammered to stumps and ruin

—Peter Trower, “The Ridge Trees”

ANGUS MONK WENT into the woods at the age of thirteen. This wasn’t so unusual in the 1920s when millions of boys, rendered fatherless by World War I, were forced by circumstances to leave home and make their way in the world. On the West Coast in those days, finding a boy as young as ten taking a shift at the wheel of a tugboat while the skipper slept, or paddling a dugout canoe to an island that might lie several kilometres offshore wasn’t out of the ordinary. It was a different time: the country was huge, the population small, and the workload enormous; competence—in any form—was exploited to its fullest extent. The Monk family had come to Canada from the tiny Scottish island of Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides; this barren, windswept archipelago is Europe’s answer to the Queen Charlottes—minus the trees. The rigours of life out there, at the mercy of the North Atlantic, necessitated a tough and fearless constitution, a characteristic that Angus embodied fully. Naturally drawn to outer limits, both physical and geographic, he made his way to Vancouver Island, where the logging camps served as his high school and university. Though barely pubescent when he started, Angus proved an apt, if restless, pupil. Drifting from camp to camp, he picked up a wide variety of skills, emerging as an exceptional high rigger, the most dangerous and highly paid job in the woods.

If you run across an old photo of a man with an axe perched high in a tree, you are not looking at a faller, you are looking at the far rarer high rigger. Like the steelworkers who build skyscrapers, these men were a breed apart; they were the ones who prepared the spar trees to run high-lead cable. A high rigger’s duties included hanging the huge pulleys—a metre across and nine hundred kilograms—that carried the cable, and setting the guy lines that anchored the spar tree from all sides in order to keep it from being pulled over by the tremendous loads it would be supporting. It was a job that required an unusual combination of raw courage, gymnastic strength, and technical skill; the success of a logging operation hung, literally, on the competence of its high rigger.

The first high riggers were sailors; already at ease at the tops of tossing masts and familiar with complex rigging, they were naturals for the job. A high rigger’s special equipment was minimal: eight-centimetre climbing spikes which were strapped to his ankles, and a heavy rope that was clipped to his waist and slung around the tree’s trunk. The rope was woven with a wire core in order to prevent it from being accidentally cut by the rigger’s axe—a shorter, more compact version of those used by fallers. Also attached to his belt, in addition to the axe and a one-man crosscut saw, would be a long “straw line” this light rope was used to haul up successively larger ropes, cables, and blocks (pulleys) once the spar had been made ready. Thus prepared, a high rigger like Angus Monk would “hug” his way up trees nearly eighty metres high, lopping branches as he went. Because the topmost portion of the tree was thinner and not as strong, it would be cut off; sometimes it was blown off with dynamite. Topping the spar was a tricky operation; if a breeze came up and the top began to fall before it had been cut through completely, the tree could “barber chair”—split open along its length—with the result being that the rigger would be crushed between the expanding tree and his fixed safety rope. For trees this tall to survive winter gales, they must be extremely flexible, so even when everything went according to plan, the release of the several-ton spar top would cause the tree to sway wildly. Co-workers on the ground would watch as the tiny rigger ducked his head, dug in his spikes, and held on for dear life while the spar thrashed back and forth like a ship’s mast in a storm. After all was calm again, some high riggers, including Angus, would stand on the platform they had made—about as wide as a cocktail tray—and urinate into space. Once all the blocks were in place, the rigger could then rappel down; Angus became so adept at high-speed descents that he could throw his hat in the air at fifty metres and be on the ground when it landed. For these reasons, among others, high riggers were viewed with a certain awe by other loggers—a combination of admiration and relief that the job wasn’t theirs. Once back on earth, such a man was entitled to a certain swagger; part stuntman, part matador, and absolutely indispensable, there was no doubt he was a card-carrying “cock of the woods.”

But even high riggers were employees, and Angus had higher aspirations. Eventually he learned enough on the job to go out on his own, becoming what was known in the industry as a gyppo logger; it was a big and precarious leap. Gyppos were independent operators who might own a few trucks, a couple of mobile camps, and the shows they ran tended to reflect their own characters, for better or worse. Like their agricultural equivalent, the freehold farmer with sixty cows and a quarter-mile section, they were extremely vulnerable to the whims of the marketplace, and they are an endangered species today. During the late fifties and sixties, Angus and his crew were clear-cutting the valleys above Howe Sound, a deep fjord that feeds into Vancouver’s English Bay from the north. Though often shrouded in clouds and fog, it is a stunning setting of deep shining water dotted with islands and overseen by mountains cloaked in forest. Winding through West Vancouver and up the sound’s east side is the Sea to Sky Highway; the road, which went through in 1958, was an engineering feat on a par with California’s Highway One. There is no other highway on the continent that places a traveller so tightly between the jaws of mountain and sea. Angus Monk had a contract to log the steep slopes above it.

VANCOUVER IN THE 1950S was still very much a British colonial town, and government, social mores, and education all reflected this. Cut off from the rest of Canada by the Rocky Mountains and the Coast Range, and from the United States by the border, Vancouver floated in a lush green world all its own. To this day, the west side still has some of the feel of a British colonial suburb like those in Cape Town, Hong Kong, or Penang—only with English weather. When it isn’t raining, sailboats cruise the bay beneath snow-capped mountains while cricket, lawn bowling, and tennis are played at the clubs ashore. Fig trees, windmill palms, and Japanese bananas flourish alongside Chilean monkey puzzles and tree-sized camellias in a climate that feels closer to California than to Canada.

Vancouver’s east side was a separate world from the serene and stately west side suburbs. In the dense shingle and clapboard neighbourhoods that rose above the docks and lumber mills, immigrants from Asia and Europe jockeyed for position alongside Natives from all over western Canada. As spread out and isolated as loggers might be in the bush, the downtown east side is where they all came together. Here, transient loggers, miners, and fishermen drank in gender-segregated bars on downtown Granville Street, and whored to unconsciousness in flophouse hotels like the Blackstone and the Austin.

For generations, loggers have been viewed as a kind of subspecies that require special handling, like boxers or British football fans. In one telling instance, the radio operator aboard the M.V. Princess Maquinna, a passenger steamer serving the B.C. coast, called the port at Vancouver to say, “We’ve got fifty passengers, and one hundred and fifty loggers.” In many cases, derogatory nicknames such as “bush ape” and “timber beast” were more than justified; as one man in a position to know put it, “There were some awful bloody animals in the woods in those days.” For a certain segment of the population, logging was British Columbia’s answer to the French Foreign Legion: junkies, petty criminals, and thugs would often seek refuge in the camps, and the courts encouraged it. But even way out there, heroin was available.

Coming out of the bush by boat and plane, loggers were walking liabilities; not only were these men in formidable physical condition, they had vicious cases of cabin fever and were desperately oversexed. Many would already have a bottle in hand as they headed to town primed to blow off a serious head of steam. For Bill Weber, a forty-five-year-old faller from Vancouver Island, those days are recent memories. Born in a tiny logging community on Vancouver Island, Weber’s father is a preacher who made his living not off the collection plate, but by driving logging equipment between sermons. His grandmother was one of the last children to travel west in a covered wagon. Weber stands six-foot-three in his calks and with his Bunyanesque physique, piercing blue eyes, and flaxen hair he looks like a Teutonic knight, or a poster boy for the logging industry. He recalls one sea-plane flight where, already well fortified, he decided that he needed to relieve himself immediately. Much to the pilot’s consternation, Weber opened the door and climbed out onto the plane’s pontoon and into a 150 kilometre an hour headwind. With one hand on a wing strut and the other on his fly, five fingers were all that kept him from a 300-metre plunge into Georgia Strait. After several months in the bush, a man might have a lot of money coming to him, and the wads were fat and heady. “I’d have three or four thousand dollars in my shirt pocket,” recalls Weber, “and I’d be struttin’ around like I had the world by the tail on a downhill pull.”

Most young loggers were strangers to city ways and they made easy marks; it was for reasons such as this that two downtown Vancouver side streets earned the names Trounce Alley and Blood Alley; a third is called Shanghai. They still exist today. While there were also stories of Natives who would roll drunken whites and leave them draped across the train tracks outside the freight yards, Vancouver had one advantage in that it is the only city in mainland Canada where you can pass out in a park on a winter night without freezing to death. “I’d go to Van, blow my paycheque, and fly back out with the clothes on my back,” recalled Weber. “There was a lot of booze and dope, snoose, Irish coffee in the thermos—it was a pretty integral part of the life. If a guy was half drunk, the crew would cover for him.”

They would do so not only because they would expect the same in return, but because their lives depended on it. Even today, it is not uncommon to see a logger covering for an ailing partner, or to find a man on the mend simultaneously chewing tobacco and smoking a cigarette in order to settle frayed nerves or an upset stomach. There is little doubt that drugs and alcohol have played a role in a number of deaths; one Vancouver Island powder man returned to the woods so snaky (addled by DTs) that after setting a twenty-kilogram charge under a big stump, he then sat down on it and blew himself up. “Never take me off the ground on a Sunday,” Angus Monk would say, referring to the hangover he would inevitably have. Angus was not so different from other loggers of his generation for whom alcohol was, for all practical purposes, one of the basic food groups, but he took it to some unusual extremes. Harry Purney, an old friend from the age of steam, recalls him preparing the following concoction one morning and calling it breakfast:


Boil and peel 17 eggs

Place eggs in a bowl

Add a cup of Cutty Sark

Serves one

Angus, who clearly had appetites as formidable as his constitution, was nonetheless able to achieve some sort of balance, albeit a precarious one; by mid-century loggers’ standards, he had the best of both worlds. Whereas most woodsmen of his era were banished for months at a time to remote valleys accessible only by boat or float plane, Angus ran his crew in the bush all day and then got to drive home to his family in the exclusive suburb of West Vancouver. He was a tough, happy, connected man, remembered with fondness by all but his rivals; the only thing missing was a son to work beside him. For a brief time, a nephew would fill the gap. Angus’s sister, Lillian, had two boys, but only one of them would make it past thirty-five; his name was Grant Hadwin and there were ways in which he could have been Angus’s own. Both uncle and nephew had a frontiersman’s capacity for excess and risk. In 1966 Grant quit school and left home; he was sixteen, and his first boss was his Uncle Angus.

Logging is a brutal trade that can make one an old man at fifty, but Grant, a natural athlete, was ideally suited to the task and excelled in the face of its physical challenge and myriad dangers. The rugged, isolated lifestyle, a last link to the rapidly vanishing frontier era, captured his imagination and would shape his life, not least because it flew in the face of his engineer-father’s white-collar ambitions. By the time he was twenty, Grant Hadwin, an upper-middle-class prep-school refugee, had adopted the costume and habits of the old-time loggers: grey wool Stanfields, stagged*1 jeans held up with suspenders, a lower lip full of Copenhagen, and an alarming capacity for alcohol.

As dramatic as the transformation was, it was less a reaction than the natural evolution of a person finally allowed to follow his organic impulses. During high school, while his peers were racing cars and chasing girls, Grant was building a cabin and roaming the mountains that reared up behind his parents’ West Vancouver home. Few people had the chance to get to know Grant very well, in part because he seemed to be in constant motion; one of his only high school friends died young in a motorcycle accident. Grant is remembered by other classmates as being a loner, and very independent-minded. “He was really intense,” recalled Truls Skogland, who knew Grant as a fifteen-year-old, “not negative—he just had spirit.” Skogland and others knew him as a gifted tennis and rugby player and “a wizard on the pegboard.”*2 Despite an apparent preference for mountains over people, Grant was disarmingly courteous and well spoken. His paternal aunt, Barbara Johnson, remembers her young nephew having “the most beautiful manners. He was quite self-assured, and so polite and nice.” If good manners and comportment were the measures of a successful education, Grant’s early years in boarding school had certainly paid off: “He was very polished,” said another classmate; “he could have had an audience with the queen.”

Grant’s father, Tom Hadwin, had graduated at the top of his class from the University of British Columbia’s electrical engineering program, and he went on to become a senior engineer and lifelong employee at BC Hydro, the province’s biggest power company. “You never won an argument with Tom Hadwin,” recalled one employee. Tom Hadwin was a very different kind of man from Angus Monk; where Tom was tight, degree-conscious, and cerebral, Angus was expansive, irreverent, and vigorously physical. Grant loved him; compared to the stifling atmosphere of home and school, Angus was pure oxygen. But even as he idolized his uncle and the life he represented, Grant was horrified by what he saw. From the very beginning, the Faustian bargain most loggers are forced to make wasn’t lost on him. After an early stint working with his uncle, Grant returned, briefly, to West Vancouver, where he visited his Aunt Barbara—one of the few family members with whom he stayed in touch. According to her, Grant was struck by the destructiveness of the logging process. Then only seventeen, he described logging techniques that stripped the mountainsides down to bare rock. “Nothing’s going to grow there again,” he told her.

This was an unusual thing for a teenager from Vancouver to be concerned about in 1967, especially one with Grant’s lineage. Logging had literally built the city and most people were still connected to the industry—if not directly, then through family members or friends. But things were changing in the sleepy green logging town. Not long after Grant had reported his observations to his aunt on the north side of English Bay, a fledgling organization formed on the south side, just ten kilometres away. They gave themselves a deceptively Canadian name, the Don’t Make a Wave Committee, but this would prove a misnomer, and, in 1970, they would change it—to Greenpeace.

By the time Grant got into it, the look, sound and feel of West Coast logging had changed forever. The soft chuff-chuff-chuff of the wood-fired boiler had been replaced by the clanking roar of the diesel engine and the era of truck logging, the kind most people see today, was in the ascendant. And yet, as sophisticated as the industry had become in terms of mechanization, it was still almost completely unaware of environmental issues; there was only sporadic replanting of logged areas, and conservation, as we know it today, was of negligible concern. On both sides of the border the forests of the Northwest were still being treated like a kind of inexhaustible golden goose. The relationship between local governments and the timber industry was generally one of self-serving collusion with the emphasis being on volume and speed; the working motto was “Get the cut out.” It was nothing to clear-cut both sides of an entire valley and simply move on to the next; in fact, it was standard procedure—decade after decade, and valley after valley. After all, there were so many, especially in British Columbia.

By any measure, British Columbia is an absolutely enormous place; it occupies two time zones and is bigger than 164 of the world’s countries. All of California, Oregon, and Washington could fit inside it with room left over for most of New England. From end to end and side to side, the province is composed almost entirely of mountain ranges that are thickly wooded from valley bottom to tree line. Even today, it is hard country to navigate; the drive from Vancouver, in the southwest corner, to Prince Rupert, halfway up the coast, takes twenty-four hours—weather permitting. There are only two paved roads accessing its northern border, and one of them is the Alaska Highway. B.C.’s coastline—including islands and inlets—is twenty-seven thousand kilometres long, and all of it was once forested, in most cases down to the waterline.

Like Alaska, this landscape exudes an overwhelming power to diminish all who move across it. A colony of 500-kilogram sea lions might as well be a cluster of maggots, and a human being nothing but an animated pouch of plasma for feeding mosquitoes. That something as small as a man could have any impact on such a place seems almost laughable. In a geography of this magnitude, one can imagine how it might have been possible to believe that the West Coast bonanza would never end. And the numbers bear this out; British Columbia’s timber holdings were truly awe-inspiring: in 1921, after more than sixty years of industrial logging, an estimate of the province’s remaining timber came in at 366 billion board feet—enough wood to build twenty million homes, or a boardwalk to Mars.

GRANT, TRUE TO FORM, didn’t stay with his uncle long. After a brief apprenticeship, he headed deep into the Coast Mountains to the former mining town of Gold Bridge, four hours north of Vancouver. Hadwin already knew the area well: his family had owned a cabin on Big Gun Lake, just outside of town, since he was a child. Insulated from the outside world by a natural fortress of high, rugged mountains, Gold Bridge has always been a marginal place. The rivers there run glacier green, and the only access is via rough logging roads lined with fatal drop-offs. Several kilometres to the south lean the ruins of the Bralorne-Pioneer mine, the most lucrative gold mine in British Columbia. In its heyday it employed thousands of men who worked as much as two kilometres underground, breathing dank, recycled air that was in excess of forty-five degrees Celsius. When the mine closed in 1971, it caused the local population to plummet to fewer than one hundred souls. Today, grizzly bears, wolves, and mountain goats outnumber people.

Before finding his calling as a commercial timber scout and layout engineer, Hadwin worked variously as a logger, prospector, heavy-equipment operator, blaster, and hard-rock driller. Between jobs, he spent a lot of time on his own, hunting and exploring the surrounding wilderness. In the evenings he seemed to oscillate between the two poles represented by his father and his uncle: the surprisingly suburban pastime of contract bridge, and rowdy nights in the local bars. One of Hadwin’s neighbours recalled him and a man named Franklin stretching their penises across a bar table in order to determine whose was longer while a Native woman named Big Edith refereed. No doubt similar contests went unrecorded in Dodge City a century earlier.

On another occasion, a man in the Bralorne bar bet Hadwin a hundred dollars he couldn’t climb three hundred vertical metres in an hour. This is no mean feat in the Coast Range, which is composed of steep, slab-faced mountains where forty-and fifty-degree slopes covered in loose rock and snow are commonplace, but Hadwin left the bar and returned shortly with the money. When asked where his money was, the man, realizing with whom he was dealing, reneged. But Hadwin went out and timed himself anyway, just to prove that he could do it. Hadwin was a person who threw himself fully into every undertaking; his stamina and competitiveness were the stuff of local legend and he was well known for running his co-workers into the ground. “Even with his hands in his pockets, he could scamper over stuff like you wouldn’t believe,” a former assistant, who now works for the Ministry of Forests, recalled. “You needed a jet pack to keep up with him.”

“He was in the best condition of any man I’ve ever seen,” explained Paul Bernier, a longtime colleague and close friend. “We’d run in the bush; we’d race each other. He didn’t like to lose.”

The legendary American frontiersman Daniel Boone reportedly was able to cover sixty kilometres a day when travelling in rough country; Hadwin would have had no trouble keeping pace. The experience of travelling overland with a fit West Coast logger would leave most people breathless and struggling. Laden with a heavy chainsaw, tool belt, and cans of gas and oil, they can move through a steep mountain forest—cougar country, as it’s sometimes called—with remarkable grace and speed. Some of this is due to experience and work ethic, but there is also an element of necessity: the country is so vast that unless you move quickly, you simply won’t get anywhere. Often loggers will travel on catwalks they have made by felling trees end to end, enabling them to walk above the boulders and brush for a kilometre at a stretch. Because of the rough terrain, these elevated walkways can take you ten metres off the ground in no time, and the transition from one tree to the next is usually made by jumping or dancing across a slender splintered branch; they can be lethal in the rain. This is one of the reasons most West Coast forest workers wear calk boots, but Hadwin could take them or leave them. Even in winter he could be found cruising the tree line in jeans, a wool under-shirt, and slip-on romeos while his colleagues would be hustling to keep up with him in a heavy parka and calks.

There is, in the life of an alpine woodsman, a heady combination of possibility and physical intensity unequalled by few other occupations. For Hadwin, the mountains around Gold Bridge offered a kind of optimum challenge, a steady diet of what another B.C. timber cruiser would describe as “the unexpected heaped atop the unforeseen.” Even by a forester’s standards, Hadwin’s work as a remote operative for the timber industry allowed him an enviable freedom; if he wanted to detour up a three-thousand-metre mountain, he could, and if it presented an appealing snowfield, he could do a kilometre-long glissade back down to the tree line. In the process, he might find a lake that had never been mapped. If he thought there might be game around, he could pack a rifle along with his compass, altimeter, and notepad. Hadwin’s confidence in the woods was complete; as a result, he felt perfectly comfortable doing things that would seem suicidal to other people. Paul Bernier was with him when they ran across a pair of grizzly bears on a rockslide above Lone Goat Creek, about fifteen kilometres south of town. Instead of watching them quietly, or heading in the opposite direction, Hadwin started clapping his hands and yelling to get their attention. He succeeded, and the bears charged. Grizzlies are surprisingly fast, and once provoked, they will descend on a target with the terrifying inevitability of a furred and clawed locomotive. Lewis and Clark described encounters with these bears in which they were forced to shoot them simply to keep from getting attacked; one animal absorbed ten musket balls before it finally collapsed. Neither Hadwin nor Bernier was armed, and they had only a matter of seconds to decide what to do before the bears arrived, possibly to tear them apart. Hadwin assessed the wind direction and, with Bernier hot on his heels and the bears gaining rapidly, he dodged across a stream and feinted downwind where the short-sighted animals couldn’t find them.

On another occasion, late in the fall, Hadwin set off into the mountains on a spontaneous hunting trip; despite an early snow, he was equipped with nothing but a jean jacket, a half-empty “forty-pounder” of vodka, and an open-sighted Mannlicher rifle. Two days later he returned with a mountain goat over his shoulders. Mountain goats are far more difficult to get close to than, say, deer or elk. To hit one with open sights (as opposed to a telescopic sight) is impressive under the most favourable circumstances, but even then a hit does not guarantee a kill. Hadwin, despite being not only half drunk but also near-sighted, was able to track, kill, and recover the ninety-kilogram animal alone, in winter conditions.

In addition to consuming prodigious quantities of chewing tobacco (half a tin at a time, sometimes soaked in rum), Hadwin was known for buying whiskey by the case and going on spectacular binges that, even in freezing weather, would leave him unconscious in the back of his vintage Studebaker pickup, or passed out in a snow-filled ditch, dressed only in slacks and shirtsleeves. There was a local joke: “Look, that snowbank is moving. Must be Grant.” In the morning he would lurch to his feet, shake himself off, and stagger home. It is unclear why he survived (alcohol doesn’t actually help a person stay warm, it merely dilates the surface blood vessels so you don’t feel the chill as keenly). Early photographs show a slender, fine-boned man slightly less than six feet tall with high cheekbones and a lantern jaw; thick brown hair is parted to the side above penetrating blue eyes. Later in life he would still bear the deeply etched musculature of a man who was built for speed and distance, like a cross-country runner, or an Old World messenger.

Some who knew Hadwin during his Gold Bridge days likened his lean, sharp-eyed appearance and remote manner to James Dean’s and Clint Eastwood’s. There were women who admired him, usually from afar. Quiet and courteous though Hadwin generally was, he possessed an almost tangible intensity, a piercing, in-your-face conviction that some found alarming. “He always had to be the best, had to be first,” his Aunt Barbara recalled. “It always had to be Grant’s way. There was never any room for compromise.”

And yet, compromise—of an ugly, elemental kind—lies at the root of the timber business, particularly if you are a person like Hadwin, who thrives on nature in her rawest form. The forests he and his colleagues saw in British Columbia during the 1960s and 1970s were the same ones Alexander Mackenzie encountered nearly two hundred years earlier. They were dark, dense, apparently endless, and filled with frightening creatures; because most of the B.C. coast is inaccessible by road, it remains among the wildest regions in North America. With the exception of the occasional hunter or prospector, surveyors and timber cruisers were often the first Europeans ever to set foot in these daunting forests. Most of those who came later were only passing through because, despite its abundance of raw materials, there are very few ways to make a stable living in a place like Gold Bridge; successful mines are a rarity and most loggers were brought in from outside. But Hadwin found a way to do it: as Paul Bernier put it, he “was the de facto divisional engineer in charge of cutblock layout and design” for a vast swath of the surrounding forest. His employer was Evans Wood Products, a midsized lumber company based in Lillooet, a hundred kilometres away. They gave him a title—Layout Superintendent—and a company truck. It was a plum of a job and one of a very few contemporary occupations that could suit a person as ferociously independent as Hadwin.

He also managed to find a woman who would put up with him. In 1978 Hadwin married a fundementalist Christian nurse from Lillooet named Margaret, and she changed his life. He quit drinking and chewing tobacco overnight, an achievement that, given his slavish addiction to both drugs, represents an incredible feat of willpower. But what is more amazing is that he never went back. Margaret was private, retiring, and territorial; she and Grant had three children, and she was a devoted mother. The next decade would be the happiest, most stable time Hadwin had ever known. In order to house his new family, he built the most imposing structure in Gold Bridge. It was three storeys tall and made entirely of hand-hewn logs; Hadwin constructed it himself from materials that had been cut, milled, and gathered locally by him or under his direction. The capstone on the oversized river rock chimney is a mattress-shaped slab of granite weighing more than four tons; the front steps, too, are a thing of massive beauty: chiselled from a single log set on an angle, the grain flows from riser to tread like a waterfall.

By the time he was 32, Grant Hadwin was settled with a wife and children in a beautiful home, doing work he loved on a landscape he knew intimately. Not only had he righted himself, he had managed to construct what appeared to be an enviably full and well-rounded life.